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More BS From RenewableUK

November 6, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


This letter from the Chief Executive of the renewables lobby group, RenewableUK, is in the Sunday Telegraph today:   


SIR – You report that “wind farms can harm sleep”.  

We welcome the Government’s report on turbine acoustics, a useful addition to work already being done to help minimise the impact of wind farms. Industry proposed a new planning condition over three years ago, and developers have been using this to engage with communities and resolve problems.

However, the report also confirms what every other peer-reviewed study has found – that there is no evidence of a direct link between wind farms and health, stress or sleep problems. When acoustic issues have been raised, our industry aims to address them swiftly and effectively.

A recent poll put the level of public support for onshore wind farms at 71 per cent. Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new-build power generation available in Britain, offering home-grown electricity and a pipeline of shovel-ready projects. We are not asking for special treatment – just a chance to compete.

Hugh McNeal
Chief Executive, RenewableUK
London SW1


He claims that onshore wind is the cheapest form of new-build power generation available in Britain, but this is easily disprovable.


In the latest allocation round of CfD contracts, fifteen onshore wind farm projects, with a capacity of 748 MW, were awarded deals worth, at current prices, between £83.42 and £87.40/MWh. These prices are guaranteed and index linked for fifteen years.

The wind farms are mostly due for commissioning between 2017 and 2019. 


In contrast, the new 880 MW CCGT plant at Carrington, Manchester is now fully operational. It receives no guaranteed prices, but instead will sell its output in the market, where annual power prices are currently £42.20/MWh.

Moreover, the CfD system effectively allows wind farms to sell all of their output, giving them a huge financial advantage which competitors don’t have.

On top of all this, wind power is intermittent, and the cost of providing standby capacity has to be paid for by bill payers.


McNeal’s plea that they just want a chance to compete is exactly what they are now being given. The government has not said it wants to ban them, simply remove all further subsidies from new projects.

However, this level playing field is precisely what RenewableUK do not want. Only last month, they issued this press release:


Responding to the publication of a series of reports today by the Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said:
“The CCC is right to highlight that fact that new auctions for low-carbon contracts for onshore wind can help drive down the cost of people’s electricity bills. When it comes to putting the consumer first, onshore wind deserves a clear route to market, as it’s the cheapest way to generate new power.

“The UK Government’s leading role in securing the global agreement on climate change in Paris is being backed up by firm action at home. Renewables are playing a major role in our commitment to decarbonise, as well as delivering affordable, home-grown power to British homes, factories and offices”.



The CCC’s recommendation, that onshore wind should be included in new CfD auctions, was made on the basis that onshore wind is, if nothing else, cheaper than offshore wind. RenewableUK are backing this call, because they know onshore wind cannot be viable without such guaranteed subsidies.


As for McNeal’s other claims:

1) If he really believes there are no acoustic issues, let him go and live half a mile away from one of his precious wind farms.

2) Opinion polls showing support for wind power might give different results, if respondents were asked if they were prepared to pay extra for their electricity.



One other issue that I find intensely irritating. The Telegraph, along with most papers I suspect, frequently gives space in its letters column to lobby groups, such as RenewableUK. I have never come across a lobby group yet that wants to give you the unvarnished truth. But that is what many readers will think they are getting, because they sound as if they are authoritative, and don’t realise all they are being fed is dishonest spin.

  1. November 6, 2016 3:17 pm

    “We are not asking for special treatment – just a chance to compete.” If a state subsidy is not special treatment, then I don’t know what is?

    • November 6, 2016 4:00 pm

      A chance to compete is a big part of the problem, wind and solar are like special-needs children that need their own exams and a pass mark of zero to compete. Wind is competing dispatchable power stations into bankruptcy, which it should not be allowed to do without guaranteeing that it will be windy on EVERY cold day.

      The renewables that will be key for many years to come are dispatchable ones like biomass and Combined Heat and Power, they have been steadily reducing metered demand, they had better all perform every cold working day in winter, otherwise lights will go out beyond industrial ones, hopefully starting in the constituency of the Energy Minister.

  2. November 6, 2016 4:07 pm

    When he wrote ‘Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new-build power generation available in Britain’ the words ‘apart from fuel burning power stations’ somehow got omitted.

    Still, anyone can make a mistake now and then 😉

  3. November 6, 2016 4:18 pm

    The wind industry consistently lies about the noise issue. Not only do they lie, but they adjust the noise data to make it look like they meet their own noise limits specified in ETSU-R-97, which the wind industry wrote because it could not meet the noise limits in BS-4142. They also ignore low frequency noise and excess amplitude modulation, which cause sleep disturbance and ill health.

    The wind industry and its accousticians are serial liars and fraudsters.

  4. Roy Hartwell permalink
    November 6, 2016 4:52 pm

    The temperature outside is dropping towards zero again, the light is fading and guess what……..not a breath of wind !! Here’s to 2030 when we won’t have gas for our central heating or cooking and relying on renewable electricity. Start buying shares in Undertaker’s firms they’ll be soaring !!

  5. AZ1971 permalink
    November 6, 2016 5:19 pm

    Installed capacity is a far cry from output. Assuming the industry standard average of ~33% rated capacity, that 748 MW field will generate just 247 MW; assuming a high average for the UK of ~44% rated capacity, that works out to 329 MW.

    A 748 MW nat gas fired power plant, on the contrary, will output nearly the full 748 MW.

    • November 6, 2016 5:33 pm

      The actual UK wind capacity factor is 28% not 33. The US 10 year wind capacity factor is 31% thanks to fairly unique circumstances in certain places like north Texas and Iowa.

      • November 6, 2016 7:06 pm

        That’s about right for onshore. Offshore gets close to 40%

    • AndyG55 permalink
      November 6, 2016 7:18 pm

      The so-called capacity should be the amount that they can GUARANTEEE to deliver 95% of the time.

      I did a calculation once, and came up with something like 3 – 5% of nameplate.

      • November 6, 2016 10:52 pm

        The old CEGB used to apply a massive (often excessive) penalty to unreliable generators, as they caused massive problems to the grid: we are now rewarding unreliability and punishing reliable generators.

        It is very difficult to put a true cost to the unreliability because it is not just fuel costs that are incurred.

  6. RAH permalink
    November 6, 2016 5:26 pm

    “dishonest spin”. Would that be lies?

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 7, 2016 7:26 pm

      “dishonest spin” is the Civil Service’s measure of generated verisimilitude obtained from well constructed but entirely fatuous sophistry.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    November 6, 2016 7:49 pm

    “We are not asking for special treatment”

    Good. When petroleum companies kill birds they get fined. The fines vary but £1,000 per bird would be reasonably typical.

    I hope McNeal will welcome this fair application of the law.

  8. November 6, 2016 7:49 pm

    For meeting peak demand on cold winter evenings the current GB wind capacity is already achieving most of what is possible without stupidly large multipliers. The existing capacity will reduce cold windy demand peaks to below the level of cold calm ones, the latter it cannot touch, so in effect wind is already stuck at its maximum value in terms of meeting peak demand. Not far off being able to provide all the gory details …

  9. Derek Buxton permalink
    November 7, 2016 11:49 am

    These people are a complete disgrace in this so called civilised world, but by acting daft, they get all the attention. Maybe it has to do with the low intelligence levels in Parliament!

  10. Gerry, England permalink
    November 7, 2016 1:56 pm

    The masses probably look upon RenewableUK as having prestige and wouldn’t stoop to lying and cheating.

    Peer review? Well I think all here know what that really means.

    As I pointed out before, make all windmill operators provide the back up as part of their operation.

  11. tom0mason permalink
    November 7, 2016 7:13 pm

    To the editor The Tory Dailygraph —
    I note with dismay you have allowed Hugh McNeal post a letter in your publication saying that windfarms are not a health hazard.

    Please be aware Hugh McNeal is only in it for the money.

  12. Mick J permalink
    November 8, 2016 1:20 pm

    There is a review at NoTricksZone of a presentation given in Germany regarding the health impacts of wind turbines. The review mentions that studies form the basis for the presentation. Maybe of interest.

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